Have you recently adopted a VHS dog or cat? Let us know how things are going! Send your cutest, clearest photos and all those adorable details about life with your new best friend to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your first and last name and your pet’s VHS name (if known).
Your stories and photos will show others that happiness and love may be found with a rescued animal, and encourage them to consider adopting their next pet. VHS may use the items you send in print or online, in The Scoop newsletter, program brochures, donor mailings, social media, or other materials. Items may be edited for length, content, and/or quality. Need some ideas to get started?
Sometimes all you need is just a little patience, whether you’re waiting for water to boil, seedlings to sprout, or perhaps the confidence of a shy pup to grow. Darby was scared in the noisy surroundings at the big municipal shelter. Brought to Valley Humane Society, we wondered if the emaciated Dalmatian had ever been struck. With kindness we patiently waited for him to learn that he was safe and loved; that meals were regular, plentiful and free; that gentle hands were the only sort he would experience in our care. Still he resisted. When the Nelson family came to meet Darby, he wouldn’t even go on a walk with them. Then he met Ty. From the very first meeting with his prospective brother, Darby has been “happy to explore and walks very well on leash.”
Still, adopting Darby was a carefully considered decision. “We really appreciated the patience with which you treated us while we made our adoption decision,” the family recently wrote. And once again, that patience paid off for Darby. Adopted by the Nelsons, the shy guy has become confident and skilled, learning to climb stairs and use the dog door. Now named Stanley, he and Ty play together well, sharing toys and frolicking in the house. Afterward he is a big snuggler, turning to his human family members for love and affection. “Stanley is a wonderful addition to our family and we love him very much,” wrote the Nelsons. “We promise to give [him] a very good life.” We say take all the time you need!
If you’ve ever wondered whether time really is relative, just ask Zuzu. She was running out of it at the crowded municipal shelter. Her stray hold was up when Valley Humane Society’s animal care manager noticed her round little tabby face with its cute, pert nose and observant eyes. Once she settled in our adoption center, however, Zuzu took her time…getting adopted, that is! After nearly a year in our facility, Zuzu found her forever home. But before another year had passed, she came back. Extremely stressed in the presence other cats, Zuzu objected when her guardian’s father’s cat joined the household after the gentleman passed away. Once again, time crept for Zuzu. She had plenty of visitors in her kitty condo, but continued to be passed by time and again. As she was approaching another full year at Valley Humane Society, our volunteer programs manager happened to use Zuzu as an example during her volunteer orientation of how animals remain with us until they are adopted. This piqued the interest of Ann, who wanted to see this cat who had been at the facility for so long. It was pretty much love at first sight! In no time at all, Ann filled out adoption paperwork, and Zuzu found her forever home for the second time.
The two have settled in and things are going great! Zuzu is now called Agney; she eats off a china plate and entertains herself birdwatching through the patio door. Life is nice and quiet with no other cats around, and they have all the time in the world to enjoy each other’s company.
Tinkerbelle was flighty as fairy when she landed at Valley Humane Society. The two-year-old terrier mix was nervous and slight, wary even of entering the home of the foster family who would help care for her. She had to be coaxed…when she finally went inside, Tinkerbelle found the family’s dog bed and collapsed, sleeping for two days straight. Finally she was safe!
By the third day Tinkerbelle had finally relaxed and no longer wanted to be alone. She joined the nightly pileup in the human’s bed which included her foster, the family dog, and several cats. Tinkerbelle loved to walk and gained confidence every day, though she remained slow to warm up to new people and situations.
Just a few weeks later, Tinkerbelle’s photo enchanted Susanne, who was looking to adopt a companion for her other rescue dog. Susanne and Cooper, a large poodle mix, flew down to Valley Humane Society to meet her. The two dogs hit it off perfectly, and set about playing and wrestling as soon as the leashes were off.
Now named Pixie, Tinkerbelle is adjusting wonderfully to her new home. She and Cooper are getting along beautifully, and though she is still skittish, she comes when called, takes her treats, and wags her pleasure at belly rubs. Through the magic of patience, this little sprite turned out to be a great addition to the family!
It seems the third time really is opportune, when you’re a charming diety like Apollo! Adopted from Valley Humane Society as a kitten, sunny Apollo and his shadowy counterpart, Padfoot, were surrendered when their family was forced to move after just four years together. Good-natured and gentle, the flame point Siamese mix was a bright spot in Kitty City for more than four months when our Black Cat Friday Weekend adoption event brought his new guardian through the door. Nancy had been forced to give up her own beloved cat a number of years previously due to an extended hospitalization. She saw Apollo’s picture in the paper, and something reminded her of “Chyn.” In a recent letter, Nancy thanked Valley Humane for “reuniting” her with a virtual reincarnation of the cat she had to give up. “This precious cat is wonderful and full of curiosity!” she writes. “He claims ownership to the largest part of the bed and the best chair in the house.” Nancy keeps Apollo on his toes with regular games of hide-and-seek, placing treats around the house under cushions and pillows. “He finds them all,” writes Nancy. She sent her blessings to us for helping them to connect. As for Apollo? He’s in his third incarnation, and life is just golden.
The stars must have aligned the day the Rolison family chose Sky for their new canine companion. The spunky black Lab mix immediately fit in with the active family, and became “best buds” with her new doggie sister, Luna. The two girls have their human companions beaming with pride and joy! When they aren’t keeping each other in line, they enjoy wrestling, chasing each other and taking hikes and playing with their guardians. They also love their squeaky bone, but, says Mom Kathleen, “These two just need each other to have a good time.”
Last spring, Tabitha was at Valley Humane Society wishing for her forever family. Then Karen walked into our adoption center, and in the blink of an eye, Tabitha found her wish granted! The two have conjured up a great life together. Tabitha has learned to go on car rides in her crate and has a toy box she can empty at will. Karen tells us Tabitha is a good guard kitty, keeping watch on everything. They are enjoying each other’s companionship immensely, keeping each other warm at night (even if Karen can’t move her legs), and are happy together. Renamed Pearl because of her “cute little pearly paws,” it seems as though this magical tortie and her mom were destined to be together!
When the Franklin family visited Valley Humane Society looking for a new canine companion, they envisioned a small dog. To say Moose didn’t quite fit the criteria is a bit of an understatement. Even at six months the Shepherd-mix puppy was clearly oversized. Yet they knew he was coming home with them. Love at first sight, they called it…proving once and for all that love is, in fact, blind. At 8 months of age, Moose weighed in at 60 pounds and was still growing, as was the family’s love for the big pup. Moose loves his thrice-daily walks, is excelling at Manners 101, enjoys chasing balls (or squirrels!) in the backyard, and always chooses appropriate chew toys. “Moose is a wonderful and fun dog, and we are so happy to have him as part of the family,” writes mom Lori. They must have known that good things come in big packages, too!
The force was strong the day the Faber family visited Valley Humane Society looking for a kitten. Having pre-shopped available kittens on our website, the couple just wanted to determine the accuracy of the behavior profiles they’d read. Not only did they find our personality descriptions as accurate as a well-aimed blast from a Jedi X-wing Starfighter, the Fabers actually found Luke Skywalker.
From day one, the curious gray tuxedo was a perfect fit for this family of Star Wars fans. He energetically jumped a makeshift barrier to explore their house at light speed. The Fabers bought him a galaxy of his favorite playthings, and he quickly learned to scale his cat condo instead of trying to climb the curtains. The couple credits Valley Humane Society with easing them into first-time pet parenthood: “From getting time to really meet the kittens, to all the information we were sent home with, the wonderful folks at the center really helped us. If you are considering adding a furry friend to your home, this is definitely the place to start!” Indeed, the Fabers had such a positive experience, they’re thinking of adding a Leia to their adorable Luke!
Lisa came to Valley Humane Society looking to fill the hole in her heart left by the loss of her dog, Ellie. As soon as she walked in the door, Lisa met four-month-old Connor, an adorable blond terrier mix. The puppy was hanging out behind the reception counter having some social time with the admin team. Lisa played with Connor and naturally fell in love. But having set her heart on adopting a young adult dog and not a puppy, in the end she left without him. Says Lisa, “I kept thinking about him all night and the next day. I called, but [VHS] was closed. Finally I left a message saying if Connor hadn’t been adopted, please keep him for me.”
Since that day, the active pup has been a huge part of Lisa’s life. Connor spends his days with three kitty siblings, including his favorite pal, Duke. The two eat, sleep, and play together. He loves going to the dog park to socialize with other dogs and people, and is sometimes so excited that he stands on his back paws like a meerkat! Now called Cody, this little pup was clearly the perfect fit for Lisa’s heart!
Falling in love is definitely one of the challenges of volunteering at Valley Humane Society. Most folks find their hearts expand enough to make room for every dog and cat, and they love them all and let them go; some people enforce hard and fast “rules” that allow them to share their affection without getting attached. Despite our resistance, sometimes an animal like Mojito comes along…one who knows exactly which heartstring to pull.
Lilli looked forward to seeing Mojito every weekend during her shift in Kitty City. She and her family already had two other VHS adoptees, Costello and Teddy, and weren’t looking for a third cat. Then came the tug. Lilli says Mojito, an easygoing young cat, would often put up his paws as if to say “pick me up.” “When I would pick him up, it was like he would hug me, and I just fell in love with him,” said Lilli. She adopted Mojito during our Black Cat Friday Weekend adoption event, which runs every year right after Thanksgiving. Now called Milo, the sweet boy quickly adjusted to his new home. He loves playing with his kitty siblings and wants to be just like them. Sometimes you just can’t help falling in love!
Once upon a time, an adorable, freckle-faced mite of a pup came to Valley Humane Society with her many littermates. Named Tatum, the little Lab-mix stole the hearts of the Terwilliger family and went home to be treated like the princess she’d always dreamed of becoming. Tatum fit right into the family, and her human sisters love taking her for walks, playing, and cuddling.
Now called Lacey, the pampered pooch spends time with everyone equally, running with Mom, supervising Dad’s yard work, and snuggling with the girls at bedtime. Says Mom, “Thank you so much, Valley Humane, for all you do to rescue these sweet animals. She is such a wonderful addition, and we can’t imagine life without her.” How’s that for a fairy tale ending?
The lengths we will go to for love! Lacey’s adopter followed her all the way from Hayward Animal Services, where she had been taken as a stray. He was head over heels for the sweet tabby kitten, and was determined to make sure she found her way home with him. It was love at first sight when David saw Lacey at the shelter. She was still on her stray hold period, and wasn’t available for adoption. Yet when he returned just a few days later, she was gone! Fortunately David had taken a video of Lacey during his first visit, so shelter staff was easily able to identify her as the adorable tabby that had been transferred to Valley Humane Society. David immediately contacted us to express his interest in adopting Lacy. He had to wait once again, while Lacey went through our standard medical intake process, but VHS kept in contact with David throughout. Says the grateful David: “I’m very happy with Lacey. I think she’s happy in her new home, and knows she’s wanted, adored, and very much loved. Thank you Valley Humane!” Sounds like little Lacey was definitely worth the wait!
At four months old, Chestnut was still just a pup. He must have grown quite a bit in his short life, however…enough that his collar grew too tight and then embedded in his neck. He still had some healing to do when Valley Humane Society took him out of the public shelter. Fast forward six months later, and Chestnut has grown even more, thanks to the good care of his adoptive family, the Hottingers. They describe him as an incredibly agile and intelligent dog who is popular at the local dog park and is known to “bring the party.” Chestnut also brought new life to the family’s aging pit mix, Nika. “He has brought her out of her shell and put her in touch with her inner puppy,” writes Mom. Chestnut is now known as Theo, named for the Leave it to Beaver character…aptly so, according to the family, for he is full of curiosity and mischief. Good thing Dad is home to keep an eye on things!
Sometimes love saunters right up and takes over your life, whether you’re ready or not. That’s pretty much what happened to Paul Saliski. On his first day as Operations Coordinator for Valley Humane Society, Paul encountered Puffin, a “large and in charge” black and white feline. “She came up strutting her stuff,” says Paul. “What can I say? Love at first sight.” Two-year-old Puffin lost the only home she had ever known when her guardian had to move to an apartment that wouldn’t allow pets. Fortunately the outgoing tuxedo (who reportedly likes being held like a baby), had no reservations about canvassing for her next home. And what a great fit she found! “Puffin is right at home with the rest of the family,” says Paul. She joins a motley crew that includes Duncan, a dog; Nautica, a cat; and two horses named Miles and Henry Higgins. She may be the family’s first rescue cat, but Puffin always wins at Monopoly!
It’s hard to believe that Annie sat alone and unspoken for at the shelter, because once she came to Valley Humane Society, it sure didn’t take long for someone to speak up! The Johnson family fell in love with the gorgeous Golden and brought her forever home, where she is living up to the retriever part of her name. Annie brings the family their shoes, wallets, books…anything she knows they use frequently. And the spunky teenager is always quite proud of herself for doing so! Now about two years old, Annie loves watching birds through the window, snuggling, playing tugs, and of course, walks. Pictures of Annie on family outings show her picnicking at Concannon, “pointing” at a cat in the neighborhood, and standing on the sofa birdwatching. “We love her like crazy,” write the Johnson’s. They also have a great theory about how Annie, now called Bailey, became a stray: “She ran away to find us!” On the anniversary of her adoption the family celebrated Bailey Day. “We’re so happy to have her!”
When Lauri walked into Valley Humane Society in September and asked to meet Maddie, ears perked up all over the place. The four-year-old tabby had been in residence for more than a year, and hadn’t drawn a lot of attention because of a grumpy reputation brought on by her distaste for other cats. Lately Maddie had been cohabiting an administrative office, where staff started each day subject to a marathon kneading/drooling session, and suffered frequent interruptions by a cat strategically placed between keyboard and typist. Maddie had regained her happy, lap-loving self, but she wasn’t particularly helpful as an assistant.
Still, she looked good on the desk! Lauri was looking for an office cat, someone to keep her company while she worked at home, to replace the quiet companionship of her recently departed Abby. Call it fate or call it luck, but there was clearly an instant attraction between the two. Lauri took Maddie home, and almost immediately reported: “[Maddie] has pretty much settled in and is a big part of our family. What a joy she is!” Pictures of Maddie on the desk at home prove contentment. “Thank you all for taking such good care of her until we found each other,” Lauri writes. “[Maddie] is a gem. But then they all are when you take the time to get to know them and allow them the space and time to get to know you.” We couldn’t have summed it up any better!
Ash was just one of a trio of achingly adorable terrier mix puppies until the Chang family fell in love and took him home. There the little black and white pup turned out to be a real smart cookie! He learned to roll over using tasty bacon as an incentive, and is learning to walk on his hind legs on cue (something he is already doing on his own). He also paces himself during evening runs with Mom. “It’s so sweet of him,” she writes, “because we all know he can actually run much faster!” In addition to keeping everyone healthy, Ash – now called Jet – is the perfect family companion. He’s as sought after as an afternoon snack for the family’s two children, who love to cuddle and play games with him when they get home from school. “To this day we feel fortunate and thankful that Valley Humane Society took Ash in and cared for him before we adopted him,” writes Mom, who plans to encourage pet adoption to her friends and family via Facebook. “We got a successful love match through VHS, and want to help others do the same.”
Ana decided early on that she wasn’t a big fan of the multi-cat environment at Valley Humane Society’s Kitty City. She spent a little time in the administrative office and several weeks in a kennel in the lobby, chatting up everyone who passed through. As Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, “One cat just leads to another.” He was probably talking about spay/neuter issues, but it’s also true that many people who love cats already have one or two hanging around. Ana’s continuing challenge was looking for a home where she’d be the main attraction.
Enter Susanna. She fell in love with Ana on her visit to VHS and took the tortie home. Now, “Ana Banana” has settled in to a life free of any other pesky felines. She still likes to be on display, though, choosing a large picture window to relax in front of. “Here she is watching birds and squirrels and looking just plain adorable,” Susanna writes. That was probably her plan all along!
To everything there is a season: it’s true for dogs as well as people. Sometimes all you need do is wait. When Rusty’s first adoption wasn’t as successful a match as it initially appeared, he quickly returned to our adoption center…along with the pang and rue that frequently sprout in such situations. But at eight years old (that’s nearly 50 human years!), Rusty was sage enough to recognize that it wouldn’t be long before he was picked again.
When the Pasqual family came to VHS looking for a canine companion, Rusty’s personality flowered. As soon as the door to his doggie condo opened, he went directly to them and rolled on his back, tail threshing. “It was as though he was waiting for us,” writes mom Cheryl. “He is a loving Corgi mix who loves playing ball and enjoys his yard. Thank you VHS!” Indeed, Rusty (now called Buster) loves to stop and smell the flowers – as you can see from this idyllic garden photo, his entry in our 2014 pet photo contest. There’s always time for that!
Last summer, the La Blanc family came to VHS looking for a kitten. Cat lovers and feline guardians for many years, they ended up being adopted by Biscotti and Holly (now called Hazel), two adorable sprites from different litters. “The ‘girls,’ as we affectionately call them,” mom Julie writes, “Have brought so much love and joy to our home. They are quite spoiled.” Though initially wary of each other, the pair became “the best of buddies” by Day Two.
Still, the experience was not without its casualties; namely, a houseplant. As this year’s kitten season goes into full swing, Julie offers great advice for those planning on bringing home a young animal of any kind: “Kitten-proof your home,” she cautions, “Just like you would for a child. Those sharp little kitten teeth need lots of appropriate toys to keep them occupied. We have learned to put cords away and play, play, play to wear them out.” Sounds like a cat’s idea of the perfect day!
December, 2012. Ten tiny “reindeer” pups pranced into VHS looking for love. Among them, soot-black Donner with the snowy white patch on his chest was the one who stood out the most to the Garcia family. They had a new house, and made a family decision to adopt a puppy who needed a home. Now, more than a year old, Donner has turned into one dashing dog. He enjoys daily walks, begs to play fetch with his green ball, and winning everyone over with his mischievous personality. “He came to a home full of love and affection,” writes his dad, Jesus. “It was love at first sight.” Now called Meeko, the once-miniature Lab mix weighs more than 80 pounds. Meeko and his puppy brother, Luz, enjoy lolling around the living room together during family movie time just as much as hiking in the fresh air with mom and dad.
Java had been percolating for a while in Kitty City when the Turner family came looking for a new feline companion during VHS’s Adults Only cat adoption promotion. After visiting with several KC residents, the Turners turned their attention to Java. That’s when her personality came bubbling out! The perky brown tabby with the milky chin captured the family’s playful spirit. Happily home, Java is generous with her kisses, is “super lovey,” and makes sure everyone gets a chance to let her sleep on their bed. “Thank you for bringing her into our lives,” they wrote, several days after taking Java home. “She’s a wonderful kitty and we love her so much!”
Bieber wasn’t off to a very good start with his potential adopter. The tiny Chihuahua hadn’t even bothered to get up and greet her, dozing sleepily with eyelids drooping and tongue sticking out. “I don’t think so,” was the reply when Kris texted a photo of him to her boyfriend. Neither did she. Still, she returned the next day (despite injuring her knee that morning) to bring her two existing adoptive dogs–Finster a pug mix, and Mina, another Chi –for a meet-and-greet. The trio clicked, and Bieber found himself the coddled baby of a very loving family. Renamed Eddie, the timid, indifferent dog soon blossomed into an energetic, playful, fun-loving friend. Says mom Kris, “I thought I was bringing him home for his sake, but he’s given me so much.” She notes that it took being loved and showing love to create the beautiful pup she knows today. “I can’t imagine life without him!”
Just a little ball of fluff with oversized paws, Ozzie was one kitten who didn’t have to worry about losing his “mittens!” The long haired tabby was a polydactyl with more than the usual number of toes. Adopted during our 2012 Maddie’s Adoptathon, tiny Ozzie went home to live with two adult tabbies, Elliott and Olivia…and now he’s as big as they are! His extra toes still have him strutting around the house, but his ego isn’t as big as his feet. Ozzie is besties with Elliott and Olivia would do anything for him! “Ozzie is a huge addition to our family,” says his adopter. “We love him so much. Thanks again for the wonderful work you do.”
Adrift on the streets, Rudy landed at Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont as a stray. Unfortunately, the public shelter was overflowing with animals. They sent out an SOS, and VHS responded. Soon, the one-year-old Border Collie mix was headed for safe waters. With his mismatched eyes and rusty spots, however, Rudy didn’t dock here long! In June he set sail with new adopters, the Scaruffi family. Now called SS Murphy Blue (the SS stands for “Short Stuff”), this salty pup is riding high. He captains a fleet of mutinous bunny rabbits and keeps his favorite peanut butter-filled bone closer than a lifejacket. His adopter reports, “He loves his squeaky toys and always brings one on the bed when he wakes me in the morning,” reports Mom Debra. This is one sea dog who knows how to keep his crew happy!
Rudy’s imperial bearing is evident in every picture the large orange and white feline appears in. From his noble adoption photo standing between his new guardian and her companion, to a regal portrait pose with his new fur-sister, Rudy’s royalty shines through. And he’s definitely become king of the castle in his new home! Rudy’s new guardian reports that he’s energetic and full of love for his older Siamese sister. “Thank you all so much for your hard work and for all the happiness you help bring to these animals and families every day,” she writes. “Rudy has been such a joy and a great addition to our family.” No doubt Rudy will reign in their hearts for many years to come!
With the face of a teddy bear and the body of a grizzly bear, 5-year-old Kuma was a study in contradictions. Fortunately the grinning Shepherd mix found himself an adopter who had no issues cuddling with a pup the size of a miniature horse. His first day home, Kuma went straight for a puddle of water in front of the house and plopped down like it was his own personal water trough. “We’re going to buy him a small, shallow pool to have fun in,” writes his new mom. Better watch out for those cannonballs!
Toulouse and Beta aren’t anything alike. Toulouse is splashed with black and white like an abstract artist’s canvas, while Beta bears the more orderly tiger stripes of a brown tabby. Toulouse prefers to bury himself in blankets for a power nap, while Beta would much rather romp with visiting doggie friends. Fortunately, the two have the best possible thing in common: a family. After many trips to VHS looking for the perfect kitten, it turned out that for adopters Adam and Anjuli, there were two. So it was that Toulouse and Beta (now named Keeber) share love and laughter with a wonderful new family, including new sibling Gia, a German Shepherd who adores them. “They constantly keep us laughing,” says Anjuli. “They have both brought so much joy to everyone who meets them!”
Joe the kitten: proof positive that good things come in small packages. He was just a ball of grey fluff, with owl eyes as big as a barn, and shy to boot…yet Joe managed to steal the hearts of the Hashimoto family. “Bringing Joe into our home is one of the most joyful things we could have ever done,” they write.
Now called Heizo, Joe sleeps with them on the bed. He’s all grown up and is well-spoiled with love and attention, though he’s still a tad shy with strangers. His loves chasing a laser light while playing with the family’s daughter. “We are very happy to have him as family,” writes the Hashimoto family. “Thank you so much for letting us adopt him.”
In January, VHS rescued a vivacious Chihuahua mix whose hind leg was a dangling ruin. Found as a stray, perhaps hit by a car…who knows how long she wandered in pain? But it didn’t dampen her spirits a bit. Quick as a flash, we got her to a veterinarian, where the mangled mess was removed. Then we asked our Facebook friends to help us name the little dog, and Gracie kindled our imagination.
She didn’t bask long in the warmth of our affections, however…Gracie promptly got herself adopted by the Dunia family, whose hearts she melted. Though they renamed the little dog Sparkie, the Dunia family reports she could have been called Mini-Me because of her resemblance to their other dog, Carmichael. “She is a snuggle bug,” says dad Chris. “The first night my boys had with her we had to keep setting the timer so they could take turns holding her.” He also notes that Gracie doesn’t miss her amputated leg. No wonder…she has gained so much more!
Twizzler had enough siblings and cousins to fill a concession stand. The cats came to VHS as part of a bulk private surrender from a guardian who realized that her feline fascination had grown beyond her capacity to care for them. One by one, Dot, Skittle, Starburst, and the gang went home to sweeten the lives of new families. Yet long after his candy-coated siblings were gone, Twizzler, a handsome, affectionate, and lively orange tabby remained at VHS awaiting adoption.
Hanging near Twizzler’s kennel was a letter written by one of his foster guardians recommending him as a very nice cat. It was that letter which convinced the Nostrand family that Twizzler would be the perfect addition to their family. Being good with kids just sweetened the deal. Now called Buster Posey, Twizzler has fully adjusted to family life. “I know he was with you a long time,” says his new mom. “We are very grateful for the good care he received from VHS.”
Ideas to Get Started
- Did you change your pet’s name?
- What is the new name? How did you come up with it?
- How does your pet interact with others in your household (people and pets)?
- What does your pet like to do/play with?
- Does your pet exhibit any quirky behavior or personality traits?
- Where does your pet sleep?